Melvin: Talk of imminent deal 'absolutely false'

I bit the bullet this afternoon and asked Doug Melvin about the trade rumors that have swirled on the Internet over the past 36 hours about an imminent trade for a front-line pitcher.

His two-word response: “Absolutely false.”

Melvin did say that he has talked to some fellow GMs lately, but wouldn’t name them and also wouldn’t say whether he was talking about pitchers or position players. He has spoken in recent weeks with Boston’s Theo Epstein, but only because Epstein called to apologize for the rumor in a Boston newspaper that the Red Sox were trying to trade for Corey Hart. That one never had any truth to it, Melvin said.

He hasn’t talked to Cleveland’s Mark Shapiro “in a while,” so that would seem to eliminate the Indians’ Cliff Lee for the moment.

Melvin, who was not aware of the speculation of the past two days until I asked him about it, said it’s too early to talk about making significant trades.

“There’s not one team that’s saying, ‘I’m ready to trade my players,'” Melvin said, pointing to the Mariners, with a 30-30 record entering play Friday, as an example. If Seattle’s Zack Zduriencik traded away a big-name player, “their fans would go wild,” Melvin said. So there goes Erik Bedard, at least for now.

On the Jake Peavy front, I asked Trevor Hoffman if he had spoken to his old San Diego teammate lately, and Hoffman said no. Hoffman would surely be a huge part of any Brewers effort to acquire the right-hander. Ryan Braun, who played with Peavy in the World Baseball Classic, hasn’t spoken to Peavy, either.  

Any of you who have met Melvin at public events know how engaging he is, how much he likes to talk about baseball and how much he appreciates the fan interest and support that have fueled the Brewers’ resurgence. And those you from from the fan sites who have swapped e-mails with me know (I hope) that I have a great deal of respect for the passion exhibited by you and your readers.

But in this instance, it looks like we have more smoke than fire. And Melvin’s patience for trade rumors and those pesky reporters who ask him about them is growing a bit thin.

“I’m open to talking to you guys in April and May, but I’m not going to respond to every rumor after June 1,” he said.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cover this game and then stay here until 4 a.m. covering a blockbuster trade…

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